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Hawkwind - Hawkwind CD (album) cover

HAWKWIND

Hawkwind

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.33 | 188 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars While the big names of the swinging London were attending events like the Isle of Wight and were signed by their labels, Hawkwind were a true underground band used to play on a truck, under a bridge or wherever they wanted to, usually for free.

This debut album is still highly influenced by the blues revival as it's evident from the west- coast acid blues of "Hurry On Sundown" which opens it. Dave Brock's harmonica is not too dissimilar from John Mayall's and the instrumental coda is a standard blues, but just from the second track it's clear that this is not a blues-revival band. The intro of "The Reason Is?" is one of the most floydian things of that period. Floyd were already evolved, it's the same year of Atom Heart Mother, and Hawkwind release this track which sounds like the middle section of Interstellar Overdrive, or the beginning of Set The Controls for The Heart of the Sun. Let's say that Floyd were not alone actually in making this kind of psych. This kind of sounds was familiar with several other bands/artists including Arzachel and Twink.

"Be Yourself" is the first track with a non radio-friendly duration. It's probably the only time in the History that a drummer is mimic of Nick Mason. While Nik Turner's sax adds a jazzy touch to the track and later bass and guitar move to a more familiar zone, the drums seem to come directly from A Saucerful of Secrets. The last minutes are a reprise of the intro based on three chords repeated seamlessly.

The two "Paranoias" have a very appropriate title and give clearly the idea. This is the kind of psychedelia which has inspired the birth of Krautrock, but the six guitar notes which close the track may have been reused by Lloyd Webber for Jesus Christ Superstar (the ouverture). I don't know which has been written first and it may be a coincidence, but try and see.

Another relatively long track comes: "Seeing It As You Really Are" is made of noises and gimmicks on a slow bluesy base of bass and drums on which a rock guitar enters in a second time. This track reminds me to Grateful Dead but also to early Krauts like Amon Duul. The tempo is in crescendo while the two chords separated by one tone are the musical base. The "percussive" voices in the microphone are a Barrett's invention (Pow.R.Toc.H). I guess that Antonioni hadn't listened to this album when he asked Pink Floy to do the soundtrack of Zabriskie Point. Tracks like this were what he was looking for for the movie.

"Mirror Of Illusions" starts weird and dissonant but turns quickly into an acid blues-rock song with an eye to California. A very hippy track.

This is how the album ends. I know that the CD reissue contains some more tracks, including the cover of one of my favorite Pink Floyd's songs, Cymbaline, but that's the only bonus track that I've heard so let me stick on the vinyl version of a debut which in my opinion already deserves 4 stars even with all its defects in the production and a little lack of originality.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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